Whale Watching Cruise from Ma'alaea

Central Maui, South Maui
November to April
Lunch & Drinks Available
Jumping whale


  • Observe majestic humpback whales
  • Learn about their behavior from onboard marine naturalists
  • Support a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting marine life and oceans
  • Whale sighting guarantee (97% success rate) or go again for free
  • Hear whales sing with underwater hydrophone
$39 per adult
  • Early Morning, Morning, Afternoon
  • Duration 2 - 3 hours
This activity is not currently available.

You may be interested in our other Top Maui Activities


Maui is the prime spot in Hawaii for viewing hundreds of humpback whales from November through May as thousands congregate in the warm waters off the coast to eat, mate, and raise their young. Witness these magnificent creatures in their natural environment with an educational and fun boat cruise from Maui’s whale watching experts. 

Since 1980, the non-profit Pacific Whale Foundation has focused on studying and protecting whales, and marine life and the oceans more broadly, through research and educating the public. PWF's passion and expertise is on full display as certified marine naturalists explain the whales’ social behavior and, if conditions are right, let you listen to whale songs through an underwater hydrophone.

All profits from your tickets go directly towards PWF's important work of protecting the oceans through science and advocacy. Whale sightings are guaranteed (97% success rate) or go again for free within 1 year. A free marine wildlife 8x10 glossy poster card is given per person, and a junior naturalist program teaches and inspires the younger ones.

COVID-19 UPDATE: This cruise is currently operating, with passenger capacity reduced by 50% for the foreseeable future. For the safety of staff and guests, enhanced sanitation measures and onboard best practices to reduce contact and maintain social distancing have also been implemented.


There are multiple cruise options to choose from. All are on a spacious double-decker 65 foot catamaran, designed for prime viewing and to minimize any seasickness. Please note check-in is 30-45 minutes prior. Option 4 starts in November; the rest in December.

Option 1: Standard
9 am, 11:30 am, 4:30 pm
2 hours long

Option 2: Upgraded / Deluxe [no longer operating in April 2021]
12:30 pm
3 hours long

Lunch included (with alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks)
Max of 40 passengers (other options on the same boat have 70 max), so everyone can get prime viewing and spread out

Option 3: Sunrise [no longer operating in April 2021]
6:30 am
2 hours long
Typically calmest conditions and best lighting for photos, and least crowded (except Upgraded)

Option 4: Afternoon
2 pm
2 hours long

Includes 10% online discount
Age 13+: $39 
Ages 5-12: 1 Free per Adult (otherwise $25)
Ages 0-4: Free

Pricing for Option 2 (Upgraded/Deluxe)
Includes 10% online discount
Age 13+: $76.50
Ages 7-12: $38.25
Ages 6 & under: 1 Free per Adult (otherwise $38.25)

Booking Tip

The booking calendar above shows real-time availability. If the date/time is available (including for today), just select it and finish the booking process as soon as possible to claim your spots. The cruises can sell out, so don't wait too long!

TravelShack's Choice

Why we recommend this option over others
  • Whale watching is PWF's specialty, and you are learning from a prominent organization that has advanced whale research and conservation efforts for over 35 years
  • Profits from your tickets support PWF's important work
  • Multiple times available, as well as options for different budgets
  • Large double-decker boat means great vantage point to spot whales and enough room to get a prime viewing spot, as well as ample padded seating
Traveler Reviews
TravelShack Customer rating:

4.9 out of 5 stars
Also rated on:

March 2020

We very much enjoyed our whale watching cruise from Ma'alaea on March 14. We saw lots of whales and learned to recognize many things about them. It was neat to hear their song. After the cruise, we saw lots of whales from our condo, which we probably wouldn't have noticed had we not gone on the cruise. Thanks again. Mary K.

March 2020

RON S wrote:

Great experience and the staff WAS FIRST CLASS.

March 2020

Excellent trip by knowledgeable guides! We enjoyed watching several competition pods/groups of whales after barely leaving the harbor. The staff genuinely care for the whales and overall health of the ocean and were great about educating passengers. Thank you!

Guidebook Reviews

Maui Revealed Guidebook:

Maui is the undisputed whale watching capital of Hawaii.

For whale watching, Pacific Whale Foundation remains our top choice because of their knowledgeable crews. This is their passion.

Make sure you book a dedicated whale watching tour that focuses on that and nothing else.

Lonely Planet Guidebook:

Whale Watching: Top 10 Maui Highlight

The Pacific Whale Foundation whale watching cruises are immensely popular

Fodor's Guidebook:

Whale Watch: Top 15 Maui Attraction. The humpback whales’ attraction to Maui is legendary, and seeing them is a highlight for many visitors. It’s one of the most popular activities on Maui.

Moon Guidebook:

Whale Watching: Top 10 West Maui Highlight: The waters off Maui are home to the highest concentration of humpback whales on the planet


  • Central Maui, South Maui
Departure Point
Ma'alaea Harbor

30 min from Ka’anapali / Lahaina
10-25 min from Kihei / Wailea
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the oceans through science and advocacy. It conducts marine research, educates the public, and fights for marine life and ocean conservation.
  • Hawai'i Ecotourism Association Sustainable Tourism Certification
  • Holds annual Maui Whale Festival to raise awareness about conservation and raise funds to support its important programs
  • Boats use energy efficient, low emissions engines
  • Developed and outfitted all boats with whale protection devices, the first devices in the world for commercial vessels that guide whales away from propellers and running gear
  • Uses bio-compostable plates, cups, and utensils
  • Sources locally grown fruits, vegetables, and meats to reduce carbon footprint
Terms and Conditions
Cancellation Policy
  • Fully refundable until 48 hours prior to cruise
Taxes/fees added at checkout
  • 4.166% Hawaii sales tax (GET)
  • 3% Harbor Tax
  • $4.50 fuel surcharge per person